The Melbourne Victory cop was another devastating blow after former Manchester United superstar Nani was ruled out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.
- Nani has torn his ACL, ruling him out for the rest of the A-League season
- It happened on both legs during Victory’s 1-0 loss to the Roar
- The club confirmed the extent of the serious knee injury in a statement on Sunday
Melbourne Victory’s rollercoaster A-League campaign has hit another devastating low, with confirmation that star recruit Luis Nani will miss the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.
The former Manchester United superstar, 36, was regarded as one of the biggest signings in A-League history when he joined Victory in July last year after four English Premier League (EPL) titles and a Champions League triumph for Red Devils, as well as a host of other honors in his storied career.
Victory have confirmed the winger tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in a clash of legs with Brisbane Roar’s Connor Chapman late in Victory’s 1-0 loss on Friday night at a quiet AAMI Park.
Melbourne Victory marquee superstar Nani has been ruled out for the rest of the A-League season after suffering a torn ACL on Friday night
During his 147-match career at Manchester United, Nani won four EPL titles (pictured celebrating in 2009 with Christiano Ronaldo) and a Champions League, among other accolades.
Nani was lying in pain on the AAMI Park turf after suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Scans on Nani’s right knee confirmed the club’s worst injury fears, and in a statement, Victory coach Tony Popovic said he was devastated for their marquee recruit.
‘We’re all disappointed for Luis,’ he said in the statement, which was released on Sunday morning.
‘Luis has been a huge influence throughout the club through his leadership and experience, and he will be an incredible loss for our team.
‘The whole club will be counting on Luis and supporting him in his recovery.’
Nani joined Victory to much fanfare ahead of the 2022/23 A-League season, but unfortunately for the club failed to live up to the hype.
After delighting fans with his dazzling pace and silky-skill dribbling during stints in Portugal, England, Spain, England and the USA, and starring for Portugal in their 2016 Euros win, Nani missed a goal in his nine starts for Victory.
The 36-year-old arrives in Australia with fellow former EPL forward Charlie Austin, who has signed for Brisbane, with the pair giving A-League fans plenty of hope that this will be their best season yet .
Nani played 147 matches for Manchester United between 2007-2015, during which the club enjoyed tremendous success
But both players have now lost out on the competition, with Austin citing family reasons for his return home to the UK, where he has rejoined Swindon Town of League Two.
It was a third straight defeat for Popovic’s side, who slipped to 11th on the ladder, just above last-place Perth on goal difference.
The horror run comes with Victory still awaiting full sanctions from Football Australia over last month’s violent pitch invasion during the abandoned Melbourne derby.
17 people have now been handed lengthy bans – some for life – for their part in the riots dubbed ‘Australian football’s darkest day’.
Nani was billed as a BIG signing for the Victory after joining ahead of the 2022/23 season, but the former Manchester United superstar has failed and is now sidelined through injury.
Victory were also forced to play only in front of valid club members, and unable to sell any tickets, with AAMI Park resembling more of a ghost town than a hotbed of football-related chaos.
It wasn’t exactly a boon year for gamers, either.
Only Perth have scored less than Victory’s tally of nine from 10 games.
Fortunately for the cellar dwellers, they will have the chance to strengthen their squad in the January transfer window, with Nani’s injury meaning they now have two spots available for foreign recruits.